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Private prejudice

At least, though, this is one editorial plan I have not, like many others lately, had to rip up. I am also going to stick to my plan to use this column to repeat our concerns over the wave of Covid-19 prompted fundraisings from which retail investors are being disgracefully excluded. My colleague Emma Powell wrote about this effective abandonment of pre-emption principles in the last issue, but this week has brought several more such placings and it seems extremely likely that companies will continue to return to their investors in the months ahead – on current form, only their institutional investors.

In short, something needs to be done very quickly to ensure that retail investors do not suffer more unfair and avoidable dilution because of the FCA’s endorsement of doubling the amount that companies can raise without recourse to existing holders to 20 per cent of their share capital. Sure, these are difficult times in which many companies are fighting for their survival. But so are the retail shareholders that the watchdog exists to protect, and sanctioning a move that inflicts further losses on them hardly seems in keeping with its mandate. With £3bn raised so far, private investors are taking a bit hit. 

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